U.S. CFTC's top Libor enforcer quits


By Douwe Miedema

WASHINGTON, Oct 1 (Reuters) - The U.S. derivativesregulator's top enforcer, best known for hunting down andimposing big fines on investment banks for manipulating theLibor interest rate benchmark, will be stepping down this month,the agency said on Tuesday.

The departure of David Meister, head of enforcement at theCommodity Futures Trading Commission, comes as his close allyCFTC Chairman Gary Gensler's five-year term draws to a close atthe end of the year without a clear candidate to replace him.

During Meister's nearly three years on the job, the CFTCfiled a record number of actions against Wall Street.

Meister, who lives in New York with his family, said he wasleaving the agency for personal reasons, and had not startedsearching for a new job. But he predicted there would be nolet-up in the agency's active enforcement policy.

"We're in a new spot from where we were several years ago,particularly with the onset of Dodd-Frank," Meister told Reutersover the phone, referring to the law to overhaul Wall Street andprevent a repeat of the 2007-09 crisis.

The CFTC was long a sleepy agency overseeing agriculturefutures, but took on a vastly increased role after the financialcrisis.

Under Meister's leadership, the CFTC imposed fines totalingjust under $1.3 billion on UBS, Barclays andRBS for their role in rigging the widely used Liborbenchmark for interbank interest rates.

Further settlements with other banks are likely to come outin the coming months and the CFTC has also subpoenaed a host offirms over a related benchmark, known as ISDAfix. The twobenchmarks together determine the price of swaps.

Gretchen Low, currently the enforcement division's chiefcounsel, will take over from Meister. Before that, she was anassociate director in the division for more than 11 years.

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